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We have all we need: The practice of being grateful

After having several recent conversations with close friends on the topic of minimalism (focusing on taking in what we truly value and eliminating what is not needed), I have started reflecting on what truly matters. It can be difficult to stay mindful and present with what we already have while we are working each day to strive for greater. Whether it is the status of your current relationship, or lack their of, the current place in which you reside, your current job, or lack of a current job, or whatever it may be, we often times feel that happiness is just around the corner. “If I can just get through this phase and on to the next, I will feel better.” “I will be so excited when I get that new house.” “I will finally have it all when I meet the right person.”

This isn’t to minimize what we are feeling when we are going through rough times or when we are simply working to put food on the table and strive for more. Day-to-day struggles can be hard and take a lot out of us. It’s okay to sit back, hope for more, and hope for better.

An exercise in practicing gratitude is about sitting back and being mindful of what you appreciate. When we really think about it, often times, we have all we need. Some time ago I saw on social media a picture of someone’s gratitude list. I was so moved by this list that I saved it for myself. On one side of the list were typical day-to-day complaints. Things like chores that needed to be done in the home, never-ending errands, and being exhausted after a long day. The other side of the list stated appreciations, such as having a safe place to live, having the resources one needs to complete errands, and being alive and thriving. This list put things into perspective for me. What if you woke up tomorrow, and you no longer have what you currently have right now? What would you miss? What would you appreciate? What would you wish for? What would you be grateful for? If we can be mindful and appreciate what we have, we can make more room for what we value and truly enjoy.

“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.” -Mandy Hale

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Photo taken by Monica Coulter in McKinney, Texas, 2016.

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